Cinderella resurfaced in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1955, this time as Cindy, a bit of a tomboy who is decidedly unsure of her social status. Her vexing problem: some of the kids at school are having a birthday party, and she hasn't gotten an invitation. Falling asleep, Cindy wakes and is greeted by a young woman in formal dress identifying herself as her fairy godmother, who transports her and friend Dennis (who needs some education in manners) to the party. While the other partygoers, quite unaware of the intense training happening around them, play games and consume refreshments, the fairy godmother sets up a series of didactic demonstrations of proper party behavior for Cindy and Dennis.
Liberal use is made of the magic wand, superimposed titles ("Don't break things" and "Leave on time") and minor cinema trickery. When Cindy wakes, the invitation is in her mother's hands and she really is going to the party. But she's changed, like so many dreamers in educational films. No longer a tomboy, she is growing into a "good girl."
Educational and training films are full of dreams, an ideal vehicle to enable the imagination of scriptwriters. Troubled protagonists fall asleep and are visited by supernatural figures with special expertise and knowledge.
Although few mid-century educational films ever explicitly counseled children on the acceptance of proper gender roles, a good many of them contain strong implicit messages to this effect. For Cindy, gravitating away from a mixed gender identification to full-blown "girliness" is presented as a necessity and as an answer to her expressed need to "fit in." This is the way it came down in 1955, and not enough has changed.
As scriptwriter Trudy Travis reveals in her interview (on the Make Mine Freedom disc), Centron shot most of its productions in and around Lawrence, using nonprofessional talent from the nearby University of Kansas and elsewhere. Their films collectively form an unusually interesting record of the "look and feel" of Lawrence and the surrounding area throughout the postwar years. While Centron, like other producers, generally avoided explicit regional references, it made no attempt to homogenize the distinctive speech and mannerisms of its prairie-reared talent and, perhaps without intending to, created movies that have real ethnographic and documentary value quite aside from their declared subject matter.
MODERN CINDERELLA STORY DEMONSTRATES RULES OF GOOD MANNERS THAT HELP ONE OBTAIN GREATER ENJOYMENT WHEN AT A PARTY. FAIRY GODMOTHER HELPS CINDY, A TOMBOYISH GIRL.
11:02:01:00 - 11:02:09:00
TC: "Young America Films presents" over caricature profile of eagle
11:02:10:00 - 11:02:17:00
TC: "Cindy Goes To A Party" "Copyright MCMLV Centron Corporation, Inc.' over drawing of girl wearing party dress and holding a wand
11:02:18:00 - 11:02:22:00
TC: "A Centron Production" over drawing of girl wearing party dress and holding a wand
11:02:23:00 - 11:03:00:00
MS a young boy and a young girl in pig-tails playing basketball in a driveway; white house sits next door; girl throws ball to basket; ball falls into both girl's and boy's hands; they both tug to reclaim it; CU boy and girl tugging at basketball; they look o.s.; boy gets ball and they converse; girl looks disappointed; boy gives ball to girl and walks away; MS girl walks toward her house; her head hanging down as she unhappily walks to the front door
11:03:02:00 - 11:03:55:00
MS young girl sitting on her bed; mother sitting beside bed putting girl's hair in curlers as they talk; night table with lamp beside table (horse covered wallpaper in BG); CU mother kindly talking; MS mother places covers over girl then mother walks away; girl closes eyes; track in CU girl's face as she sleeps; girl suddenly awakens
11:03:56:00 - 11:05:22:00
MS young girl laying in bed; she wakes up confused, looking around and talking; fairy appears by her bed with flowers in her hair, wearing a dress and holding a wand; girl quickly sits up and they talk (horse covered wallpaper in BG); girls looks skeptical; VS of MCU girl and fairy talking; fairy turns and waves her wand at the window; the room brightens; MS girl gets out of bed wearing pajamas; fairy waves wand towards girl and her pajamas turn to a flowered party dress and her hair is fixed; fairy waves wand in air and "Be Clean" appears; another wave of the wand and "And Neat" appears; CU girls face looking up with awed expression; fairy waves her wand again
11:05:23:00 - 11:06:08:00
MCU fairy and young girl standing in front of a house, talking; fairy with flowers in hair wearing a dress and holding a wand; girl wearing a party dress; fairy waves wand and "Be On Time" appears; another wave of the wand and "Leave On Time" appears; CU fairy talking and smiling; MS fairy and girl talking; both look o.s. smiling and fairy disappears; girl talks to boy and girl entering frame; she turns around, confused, looking for fairy; she turns back to boy and girl talking; a young girl opens front door from inside and greets them
11:06:08:00 - 11:06:39:00
MS young girl wearing party dress opens front door of house from inside; 2 girls and a boy enter the house wearing party attire; they smile and talk as they enter the house; one girl stops to talk to boy as the others walk away (house in view outside window in BG); MCU boy and girl talking; picture of old woman on a chair hanging on the wall behind them; CU picture; fairy appears in the frame as old woman disappears; MCU boy looking o.s., confused; boy rubs his eyes with amazement and looks at girl with confusion; fairy appears beside him with flowers in her hair, wearing a dress and holding a wand; they talk, looking at the children in the BG; fairy waves her wand
11:06:39:00 - 11:08:02:00
MS children sitting back-to-back ready to play musical chairs; fairy standing over them, talking (fireplace and bookcases in BG); fairy wearing a dress with flowers in her hair and holding a wand; MCU fairy talking to children; she waves her wand and "Join In The Games" appears; children look up at words; fairy disappears; MS children stand around chairs; they begin to run around them, playing musical chairs; MS children running by a lamp sitting on a table; boy runs by and knocks lamp off; fairy appears and catches it; she replaces it with a sigh of relief; boy runs to her and waving her wand "Don't Be Too Noisy Or Rough: appears; another wave of the wand and "Don't Break Things" appears; girl enters frame talking and fairy looks at her disapprovingly; with a wave of the wand "Don't Tease Or Make Fun Of Others" appears; girl smiles and runs o.s.; as fairy and boy talk she waves wand and "Obey The Rules Of The Game" appears; another wave and "Be A Good Loser" appears; fairy waves good-bye
11:08:02:00 - 11:08:52:00
MS young boy and girl running around a chair playing musical chairs; 4 other children cheer them on, laughing and smiling; girl sits down first; boy sits beside her (living room setting in BG); MCU boy and girl get up from chair, smiling and talking; boy walks away as another boy enters frame; fairy appears with flowers in her hair, wearing a dress and holding a wand; fairy talks to them as she hands her wand to the girl; CU girl talks and with a wave of the wand "Be A Good Winner" appears; MS girl hands wand back to fairy; they all converse; fairy waves wand and "Be Polite" appears; another wave of the wand and "Be Considerate Of Others" appears; fairy disappears; boy and girl walk o.s.
11:08:53:00 - 11:09:11:00
VS kids playing games intercut with fairy standing behind and leaning on top of a large clock; hours lapse (large flowered wallpaper in BG)
11:08:53:00 - 11:09:09:00
MS young girls and boys dressed in party attire, playing games in a living room; game is a relay race blowing paper cups along a string; 3 kids relaying while others stand around cheering them on; MS boys and girls playing spin the bottle in a living room; bottle points to a boy and the others point and laugh at him; MCU girl in a blindfold with other children steer her around
11:09:12:00 - 11:10:45:00
MS young boys and girls in a living room; girl walks into room carrying two pieces of cake; she gives the cake to a boy and girl standing by the wall (kids sitting in FG waiting for their cake); MCU boy and girl standing by the wall holding their cake; fairy appears behind them with flowers in her hair, wearing a dress and holding a wand; they turn to her, placing their cake on the hearth behind them; they all converse; fairy waves her wand and "Remember Your Table Manners" appears; CU fairy talking; MCU they talk as fairy waves wand again and "Leave On Time" appears; another wave of the wand and "Thank The Hostess" appears; CU boy and girl talking to the fairy (fairy o.s.); MCU they all talk; fairy waves good-bye and disappears; track in to girl sadly calling for the fairy
11:10:46:00 - 11:11:12:00
CU young girl's face as she is having a bad dream; track out to MS mother and young woman standing over her bed, mother trying to wake her up; she awakens and sits up; they converse; young woman hands girl an invitation; MCU girl happily talking to young woman standing over her (bedside table and horse covered wallpaper in BG)
Ken Smith sez: Cindy is a tomboy who's hurt when she discovers she wasn't invited to a neighborhood party. She goes to bed, but then her Fairy Godmother appears and takes her to the party anyway. Every time the Fairy Godmother waves her magic wand, party etiquette lessons are superimposed on the walls, such as "Don't break things" and "Leave on time" (Jam Handy used this trick in Diana Lives and A Coin With Two Heads). Little Cindy is no actress, but she shines in comparison to her co-star, "Dennis," who wears a shirt so oversized it looks like a mu-mu and whose head is abnormally small. Cindy wakes up at the end, but she still gets to go to the party.
TOMBOYS GIRLS FAIRY GODMOTHERS MANNERS PARTIES CHILDREN BOYS SEX ROLES RECREATION LEISURE SOCIALIZATION ETIQUETTE GAMES SLEEP BEDS BEDROOMS MOTHERS DAUGHTERS PARTIES ANXIETY SURREALISM FANTASY HUMOR CAMERA TRICKS MUSICAL CHAIRS FOOD MAGIC WANDS DOORS CINDERELLA MYTHOLOGY FOLK TALES